13 States That Have the Highest Percent Of LGBTQ+ Residents

Krystal Smith

It can be challenging to identify the states with the highest number of LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) individuals as there are no clear answers. Each state has its own LGBTQ+ citizens, but the numbers show that some states have a more significant share. The particular states appear on this list due to various factors, including how they gather and report data, the number of survey questions, and the region’s acceptance climate.


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California is home to one of the most prominent LGBTQ+ populations in the United States, mainly in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and West Hollywood. The Castro District in San Francisco is famous worldwide as an LGBTQ+ activism and culture center, as San Francisco is the location of the historic Compton’s Cafeteria Riot. Stonewall and Compton’s Cafeteria Riots are landmark events in the LGBTQ+ rights movement. California’s progressive legislation includes legal protection from employment, housing, and public accommodation discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. California is furthermore one of the US’ first states to legalize gay marriage.

New York

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New York, particularly New York City, has always been a key LGBTQ+ place. The Stonewall Inn, in the city’s Greenwich Village, is thought to be where the modern LGBTQ+ equality movement started after the Stonewall riots 1969. The city has one of the world’s largest Pride Parades, with millions of people attending and being part of the New York legislation. Individuals are well-protected within as there are laws for discrimination against LGBTQ+ people, and Same-Sex marriage has been legal since 2011.


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Massachusetts is known for its progressive stance on LGBTQ+ rights and equality. Boston and Cambridge are the two big LGBTQ+ cities in the state. Massachusetts was the first state in the nation to legalize same-sex marriage in 2004, and LGBTQ+ rights have been a top priority for the commonwealth ever since. Massachusetts has comprehensive anti-discrimination laws and is committed to ensuring that every single member of the LGBTQ+ community is safe and happy.


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The state of Washington and the city of Seattle, in particular, are hotbeds of LGBTQ+ inclusivity and activity. Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, in particular, has a solid LGBTQ+ presence, with gay bars and nightclubs, numerous gay-owned businesses, and the Lesbian and Gay Film Festival at the Egyptian Theatre. Washington was one of the earliest states to legalize same-sex marriage, doing so in 2012, and its many LGBT-friendly policies reflect its commitment to full equality and social justice. These include LGBT-inclusive anti-discrimination and anti-bullying laws in the sphere of employment, housing, and public accommodations the state’s same-sex partners are allowed to adopt. 


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Oregon is known for its progressive values and acceptance of LGBTQ+ people. It is prevalent in Portland, with their LGBTQ+ community being very active and organizing many events for everyone, like the Portland Pride Festival and LGBTQ+ film festivals. Oregon legalized same-sex marriage in 2014 and has state anti-discrimination laws in place as well that protect LGBTQ+ people from employment discrimination, housing discrimination, and public accommodation discrimination.


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Vermont has a reputation for being very LGBTQ+ friendly. They have included all sexualities for a very long time and are known for how accepting they are. The state’s largest city, Burlington, is well-known for being LGBTQ+ friendly. They also have a community for those who identify as LGBTQ+ and have their own PRIDE event every year. They also approved of gay marriage in 2009. Vermont has been wonderful to the LGBTQ+ community and continues to be. They are constantly making new laws to make the community even safer there.


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Colorado, Denver, and Boulder, in particular, are home to a vast and inclusive LGBTQ+ community. The Capitol Hill neighborhood is a well-known area featuring LGBTQ+ bars, businesses, and cultural events. Same-sex marriage was legalized in 2013, and Colorado has enacted anti-discrimination laws protecting LBGTQ+ citizens from discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations.


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Illinois, particularly Chicago, has so much LGBT history! There is even an LGBT neighborhood called Boystown, which can be found in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood, one of the oldest and largest such communities in the United States. In 2014, same-sex marriage became real in Illinois, and way back in 2005, Illinois enacted a comprehensive anti-discrimination law safeguarding LGBT people in much of everyday life.


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Nevada is also known for having an outstanding LGBTQ+ community, mainly in Las Vegas and Reno. Whether parts of the city or all of it, in some cases, may not accept them as much as other places, Las Vegas, in particular, has a lot of the community there that just loves one another and doesn’t care about who other people love. There are significant events there in particular. For example, Las Vegas Pride is an enormous gathering that people drive hours from other states. 


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Minnesota is known to have a pretty big LGBTQ+ community, especially in the Minneapolis and St. Paul areas. We have one of the biggest pride parades/festivals in Minnesota called Pride Fest. This event is huge and fun since it carries many different arrays, including a concert, parade, fireworks, and performances. Minnesota made same-sex marriage legal in 2013, and many laws protecting the LGBTQ+ community are still being passed.


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Maryland is becoming more and more progressive. Although there are areas where the queer and trans community can experience hate, there are places—like Baltimore City and, increasingly, Silver Spring and the Route 1 corridor—that are both diverse and vibrant communities. Mount Vernon is also home to some of the city’s best cultural institutions, like the Baltimore Symphony and the Walters Art Museum, as well as events like the Baltimore Book Festival and fireworks on the Fourth of July. Maryland legalized gay marriage in 2013 and has begun to enforce anti-discrimination legislation regarding LGBTQ+ persons in all things except public accommodations.

New Jersey

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New Jersey has a noticeable LGBTQ+ populace, mainly in Jersey City and Asbury Park. The LGBTQ+ neighborhood is especially doing great in Asbury Park. This city held a ton of LGBTQ+ expansions following the Jersey Pride Festival. New Jersey made same-sex marriage legal in 2013, and the state enacted non-discrimination laws protecting LGBTQ+ individuals in areas like employment, housing, and public accommodations.

Rhode Island

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Although Rhode Island is the smallest state in the country, it has a vibrant LGBTQ+ community. It is full of events and rich in both support and loving words. Rhode Island legalized same-sex marriage in 2013 and has comprehensive LGBTQ+ rights in the form of anti-discrimination laws and the prohibiting of conversion therapy. The state capital of Providence, nestled on the banks of the river of the same name, has a large community of LGBTQ+ residents. Providence is wonderful for LGBTQ people to settle down and raise a family. Wide-ranging and inclusive events like Rhode Island Pride let members of the LGBTQ+ community feel welcome wherever they go.

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